We are delighted to announce that Swami Chetanananda will lead a retreat in Portland this summer from Tuesday evening, July 23, through Sunday, July 28, 2019. You are warmly invited to join us in the gathering of our community as we come together to deepen our spiritual practice in our very sacred space.

During this program, you will have the chance to sit in satsang with Swamiji and participate in the rich practice traditions of the Movement Center. The program schedule will include morning and evening meditation with Swamiji, a havan (fire ceremony), morning teachings by Swamiji, and darshan on Sunday. In addition, there will be daily Chod practice, hatha yoga classes and seva projects. 

Swamiji’s teachings for this retreat will focus on the Śiva Sūtras, one of the foundational texts of Kashmir Śaivism. Speaking from his personal practice, experience and study for over 40 years, he offers a unique perspective on this ancient scripture. His teachings make the text come alive and show how its approach is encompassed in the spiritual practice he shares.

The Śiva Sūtras are an 8th century CE text by the sage Vasugupta. They address the nature of reality, manifestation, the cause of bondage and the strategies for liberation.

If you have not attended a retreat before, you will need to come to an orientation. The orientation is  held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening and will cover the retreat format, protocols, and the meditation techniques we use. Please check in at the program entrance reception desk.

Three meals a day are included in the program.
For more information, please call The Movement Center office: 503.231.0383


The Havan

One of the highlights of the Summer Retreat is the havan with Swami Chetanananda. This is a beautiful ritual, with elaborate offerings, and a powerful experience of the sacred fire. The puja takes place at the havan kund (fire pit) by the Shiva Nataraj statue on the south lawn.


The use of fire as a means of worship is the most ancient of all rites, going back to the earliest Vedic times. We conduct a havan to dispel negative energies from our minds: to burn up negative life patterns. The havan also brings lighter energies into our minds and body, paving way for positive thoughts and actions to enter into our life.

The ceremony creates extremely auspicious and purifying vibrations that are beneficial to all who attend. The smoke that rises from the fire contains a powerful energy, and as it rises purifies the atmosphere, both physically and subtly. The energetic vibrations that are invoked during a traditional Vedic fire ceremony represent the presence of the Divine on Earth. The element of fire is associated with the upward motion of the Kundalini energy and is considered to be the most powerfully purifying element.  

The havan is especially appropriate at this time of global chaos and confusion. As Swamiji says:

“We are out of balance within ourselves. We as a species are out of balance with our environment. So, what we are doing actually in the havan is calling upon the innate quality of self-organization that is ever present in the universe. We are trying to invoke that for our own individual benefit and the benefit of all of humanity and the earth. It’s really a prayer for everybody. We are praying that the abundance, which is the essence of that self-organization capacity, will express itself again for the benefit for all human beings.”


Darshan (darsana) is a Sanskrit term meaning sight, in the sense of a moment of seeing someone or something. In India, just seeing a spiritual teacher is a profound and important blessing.

July darshan.jpg

The essence of darshan is that it is reciprocal. It is a blessing both to behold the divine, as represented by the teacher, and to be seen by the divine as we open ourselves to that experience. As we look into the face of unlimited possibility, we find that possibility within ourselves. It is a viewing that is not just seeing with our eyes, but a vision which dawns within us. From that vision emerges an understanding of our individual existence and its place within the universal pattern of creative expression.

Like our eyes open meditation class, darshan is an exchange of energy. During darshan, the teacher may look into the eyes of the student, apply the hand of Shiva (or touch), or use the breath to transmit the vital energy. As students in darshan, we offer with all our hearts the sweetness that we connect to in the deepest part of ourselves. Darshan also involves a physical exchange. We bring an offering to the encounter as a representation of our gratitude. In return, the teacher gives us prasad.

Darshan is a joyous occasion, a moment to celebrate and an opportunity to make a heart-to-heart connection with a teacher.